Black caucus holds hearing on Civil Rights Museum location - - Jackson, MS

Black caucus holds hearing on Civil Rights Museum location

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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - More debate on the location of a National Civil Rights Museum in the state, this time at the State Capitol.

The Mississippi Legislative Black Caucus held a hearing Monday prompted by the governor's suggestion that the museum be built in downtown Jackson.

That hearing, on the site of a Civil Right Museum, included proposals for 3 locations: Leflore County, downtown Jackson near the Miss. Dept. of Archives and History, and Tougaloo College.

"It started with Emmett Till and his mother Mrs. Mobley who was brave enough to show the world the cruelty and tragic results of segregation in the delta," said Leflore County Supervisor Robert Moore.

He proposed building the museum in the county where Emmett Till, 14, was kidnapped and murdered, launching the Civil Rights Movement.

Derrick Johnson, NAACP State President, supports Tougaloo College.

The safe haven for Freedom Riders and the location of organized protests was initially chosen by Governor Haley Barbour's site selection commission.

But Johnson and others question the governor's motives for supporting a museum.

"He needed press to clean up his image for his run for presidency," NAACP State President Johnson said. "I hope he runs for the presidency, but he should not do it on the back of the history of the Civil Rights Movement."

"I think the governor is probably gonna run for President of the United States against the first and only African American president we have,"said Co-chair of the Issues Committee of the Miss. Legislative Black Caucus Rep. Willie Perkins. "I think the governor has made some comments to the public about the Citizen's Council that he knows and everybody knows is just not correct and he may be trying to make up for that."

Some, including Tougaloo's president, are calling for agreement on one location for the nearly $80 million dollar facility.

"We were selected fairly but the main thing is that Mississippi needs a Civil Rights Museum, and I want to appeal to all of my friends and colleagues to let's not get detracted and lose the opportunity to have an edifice in this state that would kind of speak for the brave men and women who gave their lives and so much that we could have a more humane and just society," Tougaloo President Dr. Beverly Hogan said.

"If there is much discord on the location that gives those adversaries who don't want to see a Civil Rights Museum all the ammunition they'll need to not support the museum here in this legislature," said Sen. John Horhn, who represents Hinds and Madison Counties.

Land would be donated in all three proposals.

The Black Caucus must now chose which location they will support for legislation and funding.

The committee will file a hearings report with the full caucus which is expected to make a recommendation in the coming weeks.

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